Wales

HMRC tax workers stage one-day strike over job cuts

HMRC tax document and mobile website Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Online services reduce the need for office staff, HMRC says

Three thousand tax workers in Wales are staging a one-day strike over plans to close four tax offices and 20 enquiry centres.

Hundreds of jobs will be lost leaving the remaining staff unable to cope with the workload, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) claimed.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said growing use of online services reduced the need for offices.

A new phone-based service would replace the enquiry centre network, it added.

The walkouts in Wales and north west England - where 8,500 staff are expected to strike - will end a week of rolling strikes by PCS which have hit tax offices across the UK.

'Valuable assistance'

The union claimed HMRC had already cut more than 30,000 posts in the last decade and planned to cut thousands more across the UK by next year.

Margaret Davies, secretary of the union's HMRC south Wales branch, said: "A decade of cuts has left the department unable to cope with its crucial job of collecting the taxes that fund the public services we all rely on.

"And in closing all its enquiry centres, the department is taking away a service that provides valuable assistance to the public with their tax questions and problems."

HMRC announced in November it was closing 21 tax offices across the UK including sites in Carmarthen, Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil and Pembroke Dock, with 259 jobs going in Wales.

In February HMRC said it was replacing its network of 281 walk-in enquiry centres - 20 of them in Wales - with a telephone-based service, saving £27m a year.

A spokesperson said the total number of jobs under threat could not be confirmed as many affected staff were being offered redeployment, and there were plans to hire 210 people in Cardiff in an expansion of work tackling error and fraud.

HMRC was committed to providing a service to customers during the planned strike, the spokesperson added.

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